Once again runners of all ages, abilities and experience signed up to take the Rotary Unity Run Challenge, a choice of a 10 mile or 5 Kilometer race to the finish line at Soldotna High School. Sponsored by the Soldotna, Kenai and Kenai River Rotary Clubs, this years Unity Run drew a record number of 171 runners that ranged in age from 7 to 72. Cook Inlet Academy graduate breezed to a first place finish in the 10 mile run with a time of 1 hour 4 minutes and 39.9 seconds followed by Bill Coghill who placed second for the second year in a row with a time of 1 hour 7 minutes, 27.4 seconds and at least twice Arneson's age. The big surprise in the 10 mile run was Molly Watkins, a very successful runner at shorter distances, decided to make her first attempt to run 10 miles and ended up winning. "I thought the 10 mile is the main event of the Rotary Unity Run and I wanted to give it a try to support the unity of our communities. I was a little disoriented the last couple of miles, but feel I really pushed myself and was proud to keep the pace," said Watkins who won the women's 10 mile at a time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 26.9 seconds.
Coming off a foot injury 19-year-old Ryan Cox set a quick pace in the 5K placing 1st with a time of 15 minutes, 52.6 seconds. "It put out for about a month and just started running again a couple of weeks ago and came here today to try it out. It would have been fun to challenge Lars in the 10 mile, but maybe next year," said Cox a student at Liberty University in Virginia. According to race coordinator George Jedlicka of the Soldotna Rotary Club all proceeds from the annual event will go to local scholarships and community Rotary projects, "Once again this event would not have been possible without the Rotarians and sponsors who truly practice Service Above Self. It's really amazing to see the wide variety of runners that participate in this run from serious competitive distance runners to mom's carrying their babies across the finish line and grandparents running with their grandkids. This is a community event that our Rotary Clubs here locally are very proud of," said Jedlicka.
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